Letters: Two perspectives on the state of evangelical churches

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RE: Trump steadily fulfills goals on religious right wish list

An Associated Press article indicates Donald Trump is fulfilling all the requests from the religious right, but Trump doesn’t do anything that doesn’t benefit Donald Trump personally.

You may recall that 81 percent of the religious right voted for Trump in 2016. The most visible leaders of the religious right seem to be motivated by the same things that motivate Trump—money and political power.

As Trump sees his political power fading—36 percent approval rating as of Aug. 22—he is more and more indebted to the religious right for his base of support. I am glad the article didn’t refer to them as the “Christian Right.”

The religious right has been around longer than Christians. The prophet Amos talked about them in the Old Testament. Jesus saved his harshest criticism for them.

Earlier in August, Trump said Americans have no choice but to vote for him because he is the only one who can rescue the economy.

Does the gaining of wealth mean that much to us that we would give it priority over everything else? What if the brave men and women who gave their lives for this country had that mindset?

Jesus said we could serve either wealth or him but not both.

Carl Hess
Ozark, Ala.

 

RE: God’s call versus higher education of ministers

I have been a Southern Baptist almost all of my life. At 3 weeks old, my mother placed me in the cradle roll of the First Baptist Church in Pasadena, Texas. I received Christ as my Savior at the age of 8, was licensed into the ministry just after my 18th birthday in 1974 and ordained in 1985.

I attended East Texas Baptist College—now University—and spent three semesters at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary at the extension campus of Houston Baptist University. Further, I have been educated at Lamar University in Beaumont and Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va.

I’m an educated man but did not receive a seminary degree. Yet, during simultaneous revivals in 1990, our little church in Moss Hill, Texas, recorded more professions of faith than any in the SBC—192. This can be validated in the Aug. 22, 1990 edition of the Baptist Standard.

What I find strange is how many churches insist on seminary degrees for consideration for a staff position. As I look at the world and the church, it is quite obvious we are losing the battle—and this with seminarians aplenty.

I am not anti-seminary. What I am against is the attitude of SBC churches that anyone lacking a seminary education is not worthy of standing in their pulpits.

Seems to me a seminary education wasn’t that important to Jesus since not a single Pharisee, scribe or Sadducee—the seminarians of his day—was added to his mix.

Where are the men of calling instead of the men of career building? We need men, angry-at-this-world men who will stand up and preach Christ crucified without apology and without compromise. With all of Apostle Paul’s learning, he adamantly stated that was his main message. We should do no less.

Find you, church, a true man of God first, a true ‘called’ man of God, a man who will preach like a dying man to dying men. Then, let him loose on the world around you—seminary degree or not.

Robert Coward
Houston, Texas

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: The views expressed in letters to the editor are those solely of the letter writers.


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